The Congress called the land Bill a “fulfillment of its commitment” made in the 2009 manifesto. The party said its promise to protect the interest of farmers and landowners has been ensured in the new Bill. The Samajwadi Party, which gives outside support to the government, stopped short of welcoming the Bill as it wants to “balance the interests of both the farmers and the industry”.
Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi speaking to reporters today said, “The Congress manifesto had clearly stated that “farmers should get market rates for the land that is acquired for industrial projects”. The “interests of land-owners are more than adequately protected” said Alvi, quoting the manifesto.
The GoM that deliberated on the new land bill has agreed to the change in the earlier clause of consent shall be required from eight percent to two thirds of land losers only.
Senior Samajwadi party leader Naresh Agarwal speaking to Business Stnadard said, “We will take a call once the bill is placed before the Parliament.” He however added, “We have balance the interests of both the farmers and the industry to ensure that the development process is not halted. After all we need to acquire land for building roads, houses, setting up industry.”
“If a high compensation amount is levied then it will only lead to the land becoming more costly and which would then have a spiraling effect in the case of an industry on the cost of production and so on. If it is for housing then it will become costly for consumers,” said Agarwal.
The other ally rendering outside support, BSP has maintained a studied silence on it so far but the new Land policy that the then Mayawati led UP government had announced last year, was claimed to be “far better than the land acquisition policy of the UPA government.”
Mayawati had last year announced that assent of 70 per cent of farmers will be required before acquisition can take place. Moreover, there would be direct transfer of land from farmers to private developers, with the State (district administration) playing the role of facilitator.
The Congress led UPA is keen to have this bill in place and cleared in the Winter session, so that it can be touted as an achievement in the countdown to 2014.